AFC East 2014 Way Too Early Predictions
We’ve now had a solid two weeks to digest the 2014 NFL Draft and bitch or cheer about our respective teams’ picks and draft strategy, so obviously, we’ve now seen all we need to see to throw out some incredibly accurate predictions of each team’s final record when all is said and done on December 28th, 2014.
Without further ado, here you have your first overreaction of the season. As always, we will start with the worst and build towards a division champion.
And in last place, with a 6-10 final record, I present to you the New York Jets. I know, I know; just last week I wrote a glowing recap of the Jets’ draft and how they set themselves up for a bright future. Unfortunately for the Jets and their fans, there’s no rainbow without a little rain. Something just doesn’t smell right in New Jersey (I know, how does one tell?). The Jets have tried desperately to clean up their lives and not waste time and money on flashy players with no real on-field value, but it appears that this addiction is one that you can’t just kick cold turkey. The Jets brought in some flashy pieces in Mike Vick, Eric Decker and Chris Johnson, but does anyone really expect any of those guys to make a big enough impact for the Jets to improve? I sure don’t; in fact, I’m willing to bet they do more harm than good (Vick and C.J. more than Decker). The defense looks like it will be a solid unit, but defense only wins championships, not regular season games.
In third place, with a payroll of approximately sixty billion dollars and a 7-9 record, we have the Miami Dolphins. The Fins went for broke last year and came up exactly that. True, (quarterback Ryan) Tannehill has some extra protection, but he still has wideout Mike Wallace to throw the ball to. The Fins are basically the same broken team they were last year, with the addition of one rookie and one veteran offensive lineman. Awesome. Head coach “Plastic” Joe Philbin is still nothing more than a mannequin stolen from the catalog shoot of nursinghomeapparel.com, and Mike Pouncey seems to be the team’s mouthpiece – both great things if you happen to root for any team that’s not the Dolphins. By season’s end, Lauren will probably have left Ryan and run straight into the waiting arms of Jimmy Garoppolo because she’s so desperate to feel the touch of a winner. One thing that Dolphins fans can look forward to is next offseason, when you’ll have a new head coach and nothing but hope and optimism to buoy your spirits.
In second place and just *this* close to breaking the longest playoff drought in the NFL with an 8-8 record, we have the Buffalo Bills. After careful consideration, I’ve come to the realization that the draft day trade the Bills made was a good move. Don’t get me wrong; I still think the player they picked sucks horribly and had they picked an actual good player they may have gotten the extra win they needed to get in the playoffs, but I think not having a first round pick next year will keep the coaching staff and management focused on this season and not engineering the roster to ensure a pick in the top 10. The Bills have what looks to be a solid defense with a front four that should give most teams fits, the secondary is going to lose them a game or two, but all in all the D is not going to be the problem. The problem with the Bills and the reason they won’t make the playoffs is their offense. Basically trading wideout Stevie Johnson for a younger, dumber version of himself doesn’t make you a better team. Most people know my views on E.J. Manuel, so why wouldn’t Doug Whaley and Company really try to add to his weapons instead of just shuffling the deck on what they already had? The Bills are going to have trouble scoring points, but hey! they will keep it interesting this season.
And in the most anti-climactic reveal of a champion ever, I give you the 13-3 Patriots and their sixth consecutive AFC East Title. The Pats really screwed the pooch with this year’s draft, but they added cornerback Darrell Revis to a team that already has quarterback Tom Brady and head coach Bill Belichick. They will still struggle rushing the passer, but defensive end Chandler Jones excels at getting coverage sacks after wearing down his blocker for six or seven seconds, and the upgrades in the secondary should give him more time to take his time rushing the QB. Also, for the first time in what feels like a long time, all of Brady’s weapons from the previous season are set to return. True, tight end Rob Gronkowski will not play all 16 games, but if he plays six regular season games, that’s enough to get the Pats to thirteen wins.
There you have it. I know, it’s still early and we have yet to see the Pats trade for wideout Andre Johnson (if they do I’m thinking 16-0) and we are sure to see some shakeup during training camps and pre-season games, but if the season were to start today, this is how it would end.